Indian @Rio Olympics 2016: Kidambi Srikanth

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Kidambi Srikanth has established himself as one of the biggest talents from Indian badminton who can consistently challenge the top stars on the international stage. In his short career, the 23-year-old already has titles at the Super series and the Grand Prix Gold levels.

His stupendous efforts over the last couple of years have seen him take a massive leap from his 338th ranking at the start of 2012 to a top-5 place in 2015.

Here are few achievements of World No. 10 Kidambi Srikanth, who is very likely to clinch a Rio Olympic berth when the qualifying period gets over:

  1. Srikanth Nammalwar Kidambi, who hails from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, was born on 7 February 1993 to farmer KVS Krishna and his wife Radha, who is a homemaker. Srikanth’s elder brother Nanda Gopal is a doubles exponent, currently ranked 102nd in men’s doubles.
  2. Srikanth started out as a doubles player but switched to singles on the advice of Pullela Gopichand, who spotted his singles skills at the 2011 India Junior International Badminton Championship where the fledgling talent took the double crown. That same year he also had success at the Commonwealth Youth Games where he grabbed the silver and bronze in mixed doubles and men’s doubles respectively.
  1. At the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad where he had joined in 2009, Srikanth soon started flourishing in singles under Gopichand’s tutelage. His first international title followed immediately afterwards. At the 2012 Maldives International Challenge, he toppled the then Junior World Champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli in the final.
  2. Srikanth established himself as a contender for the bigger titles when he triumphed at the SCG Thailand Open just a year later to capture his maiden trophy at the Grand Prix Gold level. He put up an immaculate display in the summit clash to upset the then World No. 8 Boonsak Ponsana in straight games. He carried his form to the All India Senior National Championships and beat the defending champion Parupalli Kashyap for the title.
  1. 2014 was the year that brought Srikanth into the limelight. At the Haixia Olympic Sport Centre in Fuzhou, the-then 21-year-old exhibited all his skills and fearlessness by toppling the two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan 21-19, 21-17 to take the China Open Super series Premier title.

It was an astonishing success as very few foresaw the Indian emerging triumphant in this David vs. Goliath encounter, let alone in straight games.

The win was definitely one of the proudest moments for Indian badminton as it was the very first time that any Indian had won a Super series Premier title in Men’s Singles. Srikanth considers it the most memorable sporting achievement of his career.

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